GUYANA’S agriculture sector has been receiving significant recognition as foreign individuals and companies from around the world continue to express an interest in investing here.
This is according to GO-Invest, Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Peter Ramsaroop.
According to Dr Ramsaroop, several foreign and international companies have signalled their interest in Guyana’s agriculture, tourism, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and, oil and gas sectors.
He noted that such was revealed at the recently held Offshore Technology Conference (OTC) where Guyana was the shining star with agriculture being the front burner for investments.
“We had a lot of players come in that are diversifying in agriculture, in other technologies and BPO discussions happened at the OTC conference, so all sectors were fairly represented,” Ramsaroop said.
Additionally, he noted that the recent visit by the LR Group, an Israeli company which has signalled interest in establishing the Caribbean region’s most advanced dairy farm in Guyana to produce more than four million liters of milk is one of the many investors interested in the country’s agriculture sector.
Guyana is the centre of attention for many investors, he said.
“Every week there are hundreds of companies that process a conversation through our office, sometimes three private jets fly into Guyana to have discussions. Billionaires from around the world coming into our office to discuss the future of operations in our country,” he said, adding: “They are looking at many sectors; they specialise in agriculture, in green house farming, weather conditions and organic farming. There is a lot of new technology that is out there and they are very interested in the agriculture sector on a whole.”
With the exciting buzz, Dr. Ramsaroop assured the local investment agency will be pushing to ensure that all local companies get a piece of the proverbial pie.
“We want to make sure that our local businesses get full shot of anything and a lot of technologies transfers need to happen with some of the larger companies and our private sector has a lead to really work with these companies and their operations.”
In Januray of this year, an investment team from Dubai, one of the wealthiest cities in the world, visited to discuss a wide range of opportunities, particularly those in the agricultural sector.
While other sectors were discussed, it was reported that individual members of the eight-member delegation were interested in the agricultural sector, which accounts for one-third of Guyana’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Investors, who were part of the initial eight-member team, had also signalled a strong interest in investing in sugar and livestock. Following this, a second team visited from Dubai and toured all of the sugar estates across the country. The team comprised of mainly experts, who had a specific task of analysing the operations and viability of these estates.
According to information from Go-Invest, applications were received for investments across all platforms and sectors of Guyana’s economy. A business-friendly climate, supplemented by the anticipated economic ascension is being credited for the attraction of those expressions of interest.
The aggregate investments are expected to create 9,386 direct jobs when the projects are fully completed. There will also be spin-off benefits which will reach suppliers, cottage industries, individuals and other sections of the economy.
Recently, President, Dr Irfaan Ali, said that Guyana was interested in encouraging large-scale investments in food production for export, particularly to CARICOM. Speaking to about 150 potential US investors, he said that the development of the sector and the country’s extensive tracts of productive land was a priority of government and that it will actively encourage foreign investment in agricultural diversification.
Ali had told participants in a webinar organised by the US Department of Commerce that the country was seeking “mega investments” in agriculture to produce rice, sugar, corn, soya, coconut, spices, and fruits and vegetables, as well as in agro-processing, agrochemicals, the livestock sector, and aquaculture.
President Ali further noted that Guyana has export potential within CARICOM and with the right investments the country has the potential to replace the 90 per cent of poultry products worth US$25M that the regional body’s member states presently import.
“Guyana has the potential of satisfying all of CARICOM’s food requirement for poultry products, eggs, beef, aquaculture; we have the land, we have the freshwater but what we don’t have is the investment. What we don’t have are the large-scale megafarms that would allow us to produce, that would allow us to facilitate the type of growth that will help us to enter this natural market in CARICOM”, the Head-of-State said.